The DIRTcar 358-Modifieds hit the track at Utica-Rome for a pregame shootout leading into NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVI festivities. Mat Williamson meticulously wove his way through the field from his 13th starting position to claim an impressive win at Utica- Rome Speedway after 100 laps.
“20 laps into this I was ready to pull into the pits and call ‘er a night,” said Williamson. “We were running with 15th, 16th, 17th place cars. We were terrible the first 50 laps and then it was almost like we had a jet button in this thing and turned it on.”
On lap 60 of the 100-lap event, Williamson was not even a contender for the lead as he hadn’t yet appeared in the top-10. He began working through the traffic on the low side of the dirt oval quickly making up time and passing cars along the way. He passed Stewart Friesen to claim the lead on lap 89.
Friesen is the record holder of Utica- Rome’s All-Time Modified Wins, All-Time Dirt Modified Wins, and Big Block Dirt Modified Wins. Williamson also passed by the 2017 Utica-Rome track champion, Matt Sheppard who was running second at the time before he was sidelined to mechanical failures on lap 87.
“Hats off to Mat and his whole crew,” said Friesen. “They are just a bunch of great racers and I got to watch him grow up. That race was pretty neat. I was cruising along there and I knew we were in trouble when we couldn’t get the lappers out of the way quick enough. We were really, really good at the start but after that, we were searching around and then it was lights out but still a good way to start the week.”
Erick Rudolph joined Friesen and Williamson to complete the podium at Utica- Rome Speedway on Tuesday evening.
Next up for NAPA Super DIRT Week is the City of Oswego Parade on Wednesday beginning at noon. The parade will feature cars from every division on a five-mile course through the city before returning to Oswego Speedway for Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified, DIRTcar 358 Mods and DIRTcar Sportsman Practice beginning at 3 p.m.
-Super DIRT Week Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com